Donald Trump said he would listen if foreign powers offered him damaging information about a political rival, saying he might not call the FBI.
Two months after the publication of Robert Mueller's report on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election, a report outlining many interactions between Russians and members of President Trump's circle said he would review information on its 2020 rivals provided by foreign powers.
"I think you may be doing both," he said, asking if he would call the FBI or accept the material.
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"I think you might want to listen, nothing is going wrong with the listening." He added: "If someone calls from a country, Norway, [and said] "We have information about your opponent" – oh, I think I would like to hear it. "
Speaking to ABC News on a day when his eldest son testified in private on Capitol Hill about the infamous Trump Tower meeting between members of the president's campaign and a Kremlin-related lawyer, the president suggested that this information do not constitute electoral interference. .
"This is not an interference, they have information – I think I would take them," said Trump. "If I thought something was wrong, maybe I would go to the FBI – if I thought something was wrong, but when someone intervenes in the opposite search." , okay, that's what he calls "oh call the FBI."
He added, "The FBI does not have enough agents to look after him. Honestly, when you go to talk to a congressman, they all do it, they've always done it, and that's how it is. This is what is called oppo research.
When it was pointed out that the FBI director, Christopher Wray, had said last month in a testimony before Congress that his organization wanted to hear about any interference in the elections abroad, the president said. Rejected.
"The FBI director is wrong, because frankly, it does not happen that way in life," said Trump. "Now, maybe it'll start, maybe today, you'd think differently."
He said that he had "seen many things in his life" but that he had never called the FBI.
"In all my life, you do not call the FBI, you throw someone out of your office, you do what you do," he said, "Oh, give me a break – life does not work that way. "
The eldest son of the president was among those who took part in the June 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who led several legal and lobbying activities in the United States on behalf of high-ranking Russians. rank. He said that he had agreed to attend the meeting after she had promised to mess with Hillary Clinton, something that he said he had never provided, and that he had not. she denied offering.
During a visit to France in July 2017, Mr. Trump said about the meeting that his son had taken part in: "I think that from a practical point of view, most people would have took this meeting. Politics is not the best deal in the world, but it's a norm. "
Mueller's investigation has revealed no evidence of a plot between Moscow and members of the president's team. On the issue of obstruction of justice, Mueller said his team was not able to exonerate the president and prosecutors were not able – because of long-standing ministry directives of justice – to consider indicting a sitting president. He said that such a role was incumbent on Congress.
Barr and his deputy Rod Rosenstein then ruled that the evidence was insufficient to indict Mr. Trump.